Google Upgraded URLs Begin Today!

By — 07.01.15

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What is the Google URL Upgrade?

On February 9th, Google announced the release of “upgraded URLs,” an easier and faster way to manage and track information about each click on your Adwords Ads. Destination URLs today are made up of a landing page URL (the URL that customers see in their browsers after they click on your ad) and a tracking portion (a third party redirect). With destination URLs, anytime you need to adjust tracking, you have to update the entire destination URL. This triggers a re-review of your entire destination URL and your ads stop running while your URL is re-reviewed–causing you to lose time and potential new business.

With Upgraded URLs, Google is separating Destination URLs into two parts that will be treated separately: a landing page portion and a tracking portion. The landing page portion will now be entered in a new field called “Final URL.” The tracking portion will now be entered into a tracking template, which is where you can enter third party redirects, tracking and any other additional tracking parameters (e.g. source codes). The main benefit of separating tracking from landing pages is that if you ever need to edit your tracking, you can do so in the tracking template without sending your ads and keywords under review. Going forward you will only send ads and keywords under review if you change the landing page portion (aka Final URL).

If advertisers choose to utilize tracking templates, they will have this benefit in the long-run. In the short term, while performing this upgrade, it will send all of your ads and keywords under review.

How This Affects Your PPC Campaigns

If your Ad, Keyword, PLA, or Sitelink URLs do not have cross-domain redirects, nothing changes for you. Google will be auto-upgrading your URLs for you. If your Ad, Keyword, PLA, or Sitelink URLs have cross-domain redirects, using tracking templates is a must. As mentioned previously, the biggest implication of this upgrade is that if you chose to take advantage of tracking templates, moving forward, you won’t have to worry about triggering ad or keyword re-reviews when you need to make changes to tracking. This is a good opportunity to take a close look at your Destination URLs and see what is worth pulling out of them and putting into your tracking template.

Decide what you want to include/exclude in your tracking templates and set them. Remember, Tracking Templates only interact with Final URLs. If you set a Tracking Template without upgrading your Destination URLs to Final URLs, nothing will be affected.

Here’s an example of what a Tracking Template looks like in Adwords online:

Tracking Template

Remember that whatever level you set your template at, everything that resides under that level will share that same tracking template. If you set an account level tracking template, that tracking template will apply to EVERY SINGLE KEYWORD in the account.

Once you’ve set your tracking template, decide what needs to be included/excluded in your Final URL.

Here’s an example of what the Final URLs filed looks like in Adwords Online:

Final URL Example

Once you’ve set your Final URL, it will look like this in Adwords Online:

Final URL Example 2

Notice the (final) next to the URL.

Please note that you can’t set an account level tracking template in the AdWords Editor Desktop Tool, only in AdWords online.

Custom Parameters

Custom parameters are another part of tracking templates that let you customize the information you’d like to monitor as well as the specific values that get inserted into your URLs when your ad clicks are triggered. For example, if you’d like to insert the value “12345” whenever this specific ad is clicked, you can set the custom parameter {_mycreative} in this ad.

Custom Parameters

Enter ‘_mycreative’ in the custom parameter field to insert 12345 whenever that ad is clicked


ValueTrack Parameters

New ValueTrack parameters let you track additional insights about your business. For example, if you’d like to track how many ad clicks were triggered for your creative by location, you can use the new {loc_physical_ms} ValueTrack parameter. To optimally use the new ValueTrack parameters, you can set them up at the account level in order to track these values across all of the URLs in your account. To learn about the new value track parameters, and the available parameter options, click here.

Tips & Tricks

It’s important to note that the more granular you set your template, the more work it is to manage and change tracking templates. We advise that you use the highest level tracking template possible, which is the account level tracking template. In other words, ad level tracking templates are not the best way to scale your tracking updates.

Keep in mind, different ValueTrack parameters are necessary for different entities, so you may want to use a combination of different kinds of tracking templates to cover multiple campaign types (Display, Shopping, Search, etc.) It’s also important to note that the lowest level tracking template settings will override those set at higher levels.

Something else to consider when upgrading your ads and URLs is timing. Consider the typical performance on your account and use that to pick an optimal time and day to trigger reviews. This will help to lessen the impact on your account while you are going through the review process. Also consider that some ads may still be eligible to show even though they are under review, which will further minimize the impact you’ll see on your account.

If your account historically has issues with ad and/or keyword approvals, coordinate with a Google Adwords representative to help you get through the process more efficiently.

Adlucent Clients—we have you covered!

Adlucent has been working hard for the last few months on upgrading our clients URLs to Google’s new format. The upgrade process is complete as of 7/1.

What happens after July 1st?

  • After July 1st, traditional Destination URLs will be “locked” and no longer editable.
  • Destination URLs can no longer be edited or created. Any new URLs will need to be created using the new Upgraded URL fields (Tracking Templates & Final URLs).
  • Destination URLs will be automatically moved to the new final URL field for any ad groups in your account that do not contain cross-domain redirect URLs.
  • In your AdWords account, you will receive an alert informing you of any remaining ad groups that were not upgraded.
  • Any ads with destination URLs that have not been updated to Upgraded URLs will stop serving in a few months. Google will let you know 30 days before your ads stop serving by email and with an alert in your account.

Google has released a URL upgrade guide in anticipation of this switch, to help you identify what type of advertiser you are, and which upgrade method you should use.

To learn how to set up Upgraded URLs, see the AdWords help page here.


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